New York, NY - The New York City Health Department says unintentional drug overdose deaths declined sharply in 2008.
It says they fell that year to the lowest level seen in the city since 1999.
Marijuana is the city’s most commonly used illicit drug. But the most severe health consequences result from cocaine and opioids, including heroin and pain relievers.
The department said Monday that community-based initiatives to distribute naloxone (nuh-LAHKS’-ohn) may get some of the credit. That’s an antidote that can quickly neutralize the effects of opiates.
The report shows the deaths fell from 874 in 2006 to 666 in 2008. That’s a 27 percent decline.
Drug overdose still remains the third leading cause of premature death among New Yorkers ages 25 to 34.
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